Fireworks light sky

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks The $25,000 pyrotechnics exhibition Smoke on the Water lit the sky for 30 minutes at Greene Acres Park.

Kevin Wilson

The annual Smoke on the Water fireworks, like many years before it, saw music, fun and a Clovis sky full of colorful explosions. On its perimeter, citizens practiced self-restraint.

Fire officials said with the exception of one incident Saturday night, the Fourth of July weekend was one of reserved celebration.

“We’ve had a pine tree in a yard,” Clovis Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Petersen said. “Some people lit fireworks in the street and it caught a rather large pine tree. It could have been bad if it didn’t get put out quickly.”

Peterson said it felt like a decrease in the use of fireworks, which he tied to drought conditions and devastating fires both in Curry County and elsewhere this year.

“I think that has a lot to do with it,” Peterson said. “People do not want to see that again.”

As far as Smoke on the Water went, it was business as usual.

The celebration, a $25,000 pyrotechnics exhibition, lit the sky for 30 minutes, starting with a lone red shot skyward. The fireworks, choreographed to a mix of classic rock and patriotic tunes, boomed, sparkled and lit the night sky — the light reflecting on both the water of Green Acres Lake to the thousands who crammed in the park.

While the fireworks ended around 9:20 p.m., the celebration started more than a dozen hours before. More than 100 runners marked the day’s beginning at 8 a.m. with the Smoke on the Water 5K, which took runners along Main Street from Grand Avenue to Greene Acres Park and back to the Grand-Main intersection.

Participants who ran, jogged or walked through the course’s Greene Acres Park walking trail could see Howell Sena’s family setting up. Next to the covered picnic area on the north side of the park’s lake, the family tent was ready to go.

“Sometimes we’ve come (as early as) 5 a.m. to set up,” Sena said. “This is the first time we were this late, at 8 a.m.”

The family-sized tent was out at 8:30 a.m., and about 20 family members were either lounging in the covered area or finding entertainment a short walk away.

You’re not at Sena’s picnic area a minute before a relative puts a cold soda in your hand. Sena estimates spending more than $1,000 each year, from water guns and hats for the kids to drinks, snacks, eggs and even steak.

“Everything,” Sena said. “You name it, we’ve got it.”

Around the park, there were food vendors, games and entertainment from local musicians, leading up to the fireworks.